Public-private partnership in education will augur well for social justice: Madras HC judge – The Hindu

Chennai News

A constituent medical college of a private university need not be affiliated to T.N. Dr. MGR Medical University, rules judge

A constituent medical college of a private university need not be affiliated to T.N. Dr. MGR Medical University, rules judge

“Public-private partnership in imparting education will augur well for citizens and also for the cause of social justice,” Justice Anitha Sumanth of the Madras High Court has said while holding that a constituent medical college of a private university in the State need not be affiliated with Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University.

Justice Anita Sumanth rejected the stand taken by Directorate of Medical Education (DME) that every medical/dental college in the State ought to be affiliated with Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University to be eligible to fill up the seats through common counselling conducted by the directorate.

The judge agreed with senior counsel Vijay Narayan that such a stand was against the Tamil Nadu Private Universities Act of 2019 under which trusts, societies and not-for-profit companies could establish private universities to provide world class education in all disciplines including engineering and medicine.

Section 56 of the Act provides for constitution of a regulatory body by the government to promote teaching, research, development and training in a manner so as to provide global standards of higher education. The judge termed this provision of law as an “umbilical cord” between the government and the private universities.

“The Section is an important provision in the laudable endeavour to bring forth an era of public-private partnership in medical education. The State assumes the mantle of setting the overall direction and supervision in this regard and the private enterprise provides the muscle, time, effort, energy and expertise to carry this vision into fruition.

“Substantial responsibility is cast upon the State as well the private university concerned in this regard. Conceptually, it is an effort that must gladden the heart of any citizen as a successful partnership would position the country on a vantage spot on the world stage as far as standards of excellence in medical education are concerned,” the judge wrote.

Though the qualifications of the members of the regulatory body had to be laid down through statutory rules, such rules were yet to be framed and placed before the Legislative Assembly, the judge rued.

Stressing that the 2019 Act must be given effect to in full, the judge lamented that the State government did not appear to be inclined to do so. “Clearly, there has been a departure in the thinking of the State from the time when the TNPU Act was enacted to the present day. However, such a deviation in stand is unsupported by the TNPU Act,” she said.

Justice Sumanth ruled that a private university established under the TNPU Act would be a full-fledged university empowered to grant affiliation to its constituent colleges and the government could not be heard to say that a constituent medical college of a private university should only get affiliated with the State medical university.

“A college can be affiliated to only one university and not multiple universities,” the judge added.

The observations were made while ordering a writ petition filed by Srinivasan Medical College and Hospital affiliated to Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan University (DSU) established at Samayapuram in Tiruchi under the 2019 Act. The college had challenged DME’s refusal to fill its seats through common counselling since it was not affiliated to the State university.

The judge pointed out that DSU’s application under the 2019 Act had found favour with an expert committee which submitted its recommendation to the government on May 28, 2020 and a Government Order enlisting it as a private university was issued on January 20, 2021.

Subsequently, DSU made an application to National Medical Commission seeking allotment of MBBS seats for its Srinivasan Medical College and Hospital and obtained approval on September 22, 2021 for admitting 150 students. The approval was granted after rigorous inspection protocol.

However, the DME on January 3 this year informed all self financing medical and dental institutions in the State that their seat matrices for MBBS/BDS courses would be included in the State/management quota counselling only if they had been affiliated to Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University and hence the present case.